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Old 2011-04-23, 03:07   Link #1
monster
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The Nature of God ("What-if")

Someone decided to use the reputation feature anonymously instead of replying in the original thread or using PM, so I don't know who to address this. And since I didn't want to go off-topic from the "What if God was a woman?" thread, I've decided to start a new thread and let anyone who has something to say on this subject to do so.

Quote:
People invented the concepts of those motivations thus unlike that any "god" would have them.
Putting your personal belief aside, the point is that the Bible presents neither God nor any of his motivations as a human invention.

So to go back to what synaesthetic said:
Quote:
Originally Posted by synaesthetic View Post
If an actual "god" exists, in the traditional sense of a transcendent being far beyond any human capacity to understand, it is certainly not the God of the Bible, which has suspiciously human (and patriarchal, and racist) motivations.
I'm curious to know why/how it is a certainty that "god" cannot be as described in the Bible. And furthermore, assuming that God predates and even creates human beings, how is it not possible for God to have certain motivations that might be shared by humans? Why are these motivations suddenly belonging only to humans and could discredit the godhood of God?

REMINDER: This thread is not about whether or not you believe in any depiction of God. And it's not about trying to prove/disprove the existence of God. It's about a what-if scenario in which, as synaesthetic puts it, an actual "god" exists.
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Old 2011-04-23, 03:24   Link #2
Raiga
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If we're talking about the Judeo-Christian god, people probably have an issue with his human-like qualities because it contradicts the other characteristics commonly ascribed to him, such as omnipotence, omniscience, perfectness, and all-loving... ness.

The Greek gods acted very human and nobody has any problem with that because that was the sort of gods they were. They, too, had limits and faults like humans, but the Greeks didn't paint them as perfect beings in the first place. Well, actually, Plato had something to say about the perfectness of the gods but that's a bit of a long story...
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Old 2011-04-23, 04:29   Link #3
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Is the op trolling? The Bible is just a twisted retelling from myths that were written far before it, so if you wanna believe is some God/s, go read the oldest writing you can find -- Sumerian in this case. Then go read other Babylonian myths, Egyptian, Greek....you know, all the stuff that came before... and then bow down to me. *points at nickname*
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Old 2011-04-23, 05:03   Link #4
monster
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raiga View Post
If we're talking about the Judeo-Christian god, people probably have an issue with his human-like qualities because it contradicts the other characteristics commonly ascribed to him, such as omnipotence, omniscience, perfectness, and all-loving... ness.

The Greek gods acted very human and nobody has any problem with that because that was the sort of gods they were. They, too, had limits and faults like humans, but the Greeks didn't paint them as perfect beings in the first place. Well, actually, Plato had something to say about the perfectness of the gods but that's a bit of a long story...
Well, the idea here is that, what may be considered as limits and faults in humans and (to a certain extent) the Greek gods, are not necessarily so in the Biblical God.

That is why the Bible can openly say in the same sentence that God, "... Am a jealous God, punishing the childen for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate [God], but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love [God] and keep [God's] commandments." - Exodus 20:5-6

Nevertheless, you do bring up a good point. Some people cannot accept that such seemingly opposite natures could seemingly co-exist in a being. But then again, perhaps this is why the Biblical God is said to be perfect in nature as well as beyond human understanding.

I believe that what we may perceive as flaws comes from our limited understanding. When we imagine a human being with such characteristics, of course we might see a flawed human being. But the thing we should keep in mind is that God is not just a mere human being.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irkalla View Post
The Bible is just a twisted retelling from myths that were written far before it
Believe that if you want, but like I tried to convey in my opening post, your religious beliefs (or lack thereof) is not an issue in this thread.
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Old 2011-04-23, 08:50   Link #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monster View Post
Believe that if you want, but like I tried to convey in my opening post, your religious beliefs (or lack thereof) is not an issue in this thread.
Of course this is not really the topic here, I mean, you quoting people who do not see the nature of the Christian God to be the universal characterisation in your op clearly indicates that this was intended to be a totally unbiased topic from the start. How really silly of me to overlook the convenient disclaimer at the bottom!
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Old 2011-04-23, 11:59   Link #6
DonQuigleone
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Disclaimer: I'm an atheist, but I like thinking about religion as an exercise.

Here's an interesting question:

We are supposed to follow God's laws to be a good person-> hence God's laws are good, and you are good if you follow God's laws. But did God choose the laws because they are good, or is it good because it's God's law?
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Old 2011-04-23, 12:43   Link #7
Vexx
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Do we *want* to worship something that has a "documented history" of pathological behavior and doesn't look a whole lot different than the "false gods" that same writings describe? Something that simply lacks the *scope* of an entity held responsible for the creation of this incomprehensibly immense universe? A minor tribal desert vengeful sky god kind of "god"?

Are "gods" or "god" simply a sufficiently advanced flawed alien entity? Why worship that?

Sometimes I think the most clear message from the Bible is that one guy was trying to explain how wrong everyone had gotten it... and every other character in the book before and after him missed the point - often on purpose to advance their own agenda.
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Old 2011-04-23, 12:52   Link #8
TinyRedLeaf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
Here's an interesting question:

We are supposed to follow God's laws to be a good person-> hence God's laws are good, and you are good if you follow God's laws. But did God choose the laws because they are good, or is it good because it's God's law?
Probably best not to go there, because it will likely lead to no end of grief and is not strictly relevant to the context of this thread. In any case, Edgewalker covered the point long ago in another thread. For a primer, go to the link he referenced: the Euthyphro dilemma.

I'm sceptical about the usefulness of this thread, given the typical audience we have here in AnimeSuki. Personally, I accept that there are things which are forever beyond humanity's ability to know. That is true whether or not a person believes in God. Adding God to the picture simply adds an unnecessary layer of complexity to an already complex problem.

So, whether or not God shares certain human motivations is a moot point for me. I wouldn't think less of him (or her) even if he (or she) did, assuming of course he (or she) really exists (I doubt so).
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Old 2011-04-23, 13:06   Link #9
GundamFan0083
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monster View Post
Someone decided to use the reputation feature anonymously instead of replying in the original thread or using PM, so I don't know who to address this. And since I didn't want to go off-topic from the "What if God was a woman?" thread, I've decided to start a new thread and let anyone who has something to say on this subject to do so.

Putting your personal belief aside, the point is that the Bible presents neither God nor any of his motivations as a human invention.

So to go back to what synaesthetic said: I'm curious to know why/how it is a certainty that "god" cannot be as described in the Bible. And furthermore, assuming that God predates and even creates human beings, how is it not possible for God to have certain motivations that might be shared by humans? Why are these motivations suddenly belonging only to humans and could discredit the godhood of God?

REMINDER: This thread is not about whether or not you believe in any depiction of God. And it's not about trying to prove/disprove the existence of God. It's about a what-if scenario in which, as synaesthetic puts it, an actual "god" exists.
Here's an honest answer.
The God of the Torah (the Hebrew God) is NOT the god of Christianity.
The God of the Hebrews is more like a scientist who created a giant petri dish and we're all experiments (not kidding).
And if you add Kabbalistic texts into the mix, the Hebrew religion starts looking like deified-science with a ten-dimensional universe, 22 permutations, 1018 stars that have 18,000 worlds around them (total, not each), a 15.3 billion year old universe, etc. etc.

So, to answer your question from a Hebrew's perspective, God is the ultimate scientist.
He/She/It created this universe for it's own purposes.
What those are has been the source of debate for millennia.

As for the laws of Moses, those were intended to help found a new nation.
I mean, when you're in the middle of the desert, surrounded by enemies, you can't have your people getting sick off shellfish, pigs, or the like.
You also can't have your men contracting diseases like sodomy-syndrome (it's actually called gay-bowel syndrome, but I hate that term since heterosexual woman [and bi-sexual men] also contract these diseases).
Put bluntly, you can't have your men running around with leaking anal-orifices and dying from infections due to sodomy.
This is why Lesbianism is not mentioned in the Torah ANYWHERE!
The 10 commandments are a no brainer: you're not supposed to murder [kill for pleasure or gain], steal, bear false witness (before the court), have any other gods (because there aren't any), create graven images (it was a racket back then), honor your parents (not have sex with them), do not commit adultery (so there aren't a bunch of illigitamite children running around), covet your neighbors goods/wife (private property rights), keep the sabbath holy (everybody needs a day off from work), don't take the Lord's name in vain (teaches respect).
Those laws are practical and were intended to be so.
The statues on the other hand are primarily for the tribes of Israel and no one else.
The sacrifices were to feed and clothe the Levites (priests) because they were forbidden from owning property (the Hebrews had a form of proto-socialism where the rulers weren't allowed to own property).


Hope that contributes to this discussion constructively
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Old 2011-04-23, 13:16   Link #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monster View Post
I'm curious to know why/how it is a certainty that "god" cannot be as described in the Bible. And furthermore, assuming that God predates and even creates human beings, how is it not possible for God to have certain motivations that might be shared by humans? Why are these motivations suddenly belonging only to humans and could discredit the godhood of God?
I can't claim to understand a being as complex as god would have to be as described in the Bible - omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. And that's just the point. Such a being would be so far beyond humanity's very comprehension, that ascribing to it human characteristics is pointless in the first place. The thing is, a being that knows everything, is everything, and controls everything has no need for 'motivations.' Motivations are a heterotrophic characteristic, you and I have them, my dog has them, and even almost alien creatures like squid have them. But their ultimate purpose is to maneuver the world, survive, and help facilitate some passage of genetic code to the next generations. In humans we are sentient and thus have more complex motivations - but the connection to that ultimate need to survive is still there.

God would have no such thing - everything god does/did/has done (time would be irrelevant to such a being) simply would be. I do not think there would be any 'personality' or even animalistic consciousness in the case of complete omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. In fact, I'm inclined to believe god in that sense is better understood simply as the universe and any other realms of existence. I don't even see the need to think of it as a 'being,' but rather, reality itself.
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Old 2011-04-23, 13:21   Link #11
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^ I believe they wanted to ascribe god human characteristics because of the need for human emotions involved in their deity. If it was just 'reality' they might have felt it was perfectly indifferent to death and misfortune, thus, there would be no reason for Heaven. People (IMO) worship god for comfort, not to understand the universe. They want somewhere to go when they die.

Not only that, but the fact that the idea was created before anyone had a working understanding of the universe means they had no idea of such a thing. The only real idea of an all-encompassing being they could create was of that which they were familiar with; in this case, a humanoid being.
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Old 2011-04-23, 13:22   Link #12
Ascaloth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GundamFan0083 View Post
Here's an honest answer.
The God of the Torah (the Hebrew God) is NOT the god of Christianity.
The God of the Hebrews is more like a scientist who created a giant petri dish and we're all experiments (not kidding).
Erm. Okay. Wut.

From my understanding, the God of the Torah is also the God of the Old Testament (i.e. Yahweh). If you are saying that this supposed god is not the god of Christianity...who the fuck is the god of Christianity?
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Old 2011-04-23, 13:25   Link #13
GundamFan0083
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ascaloth View Post
Erm. Okay. Wut.

From my understanding, the God of the Torah is also the God of the Old Testament (i.e. Yahweh). If you are saying that this supposed god is not the god of Christianity...who the fuck is the god of Christianity?
Let me help you with that one.
Take the word Christianity and remove the "Christ" part.
Who was the "Christ"?
Jesus, and the Hebrews do not recognize him as being god while Christians believe that he is god.
You should know that if you have even a cursory understanding of Judeo-Christian religious belief.

The Tetragrammton has actual numerical meaning used in number squares and divine geometric computations.
Jesus's name has no meaning outside of religious dogma.
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Old 2011-04-23, 13:45   Link #14
Ascaloth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GundamFan0083 View Post
Let me help you with that one.
Take the word Christianity and remove the "Christ" part.
Doing that, I get "-ianity". I don't get it.

Quote:
Who was the "Christ"?
Jesus, and the Hebrews do not recognize him as being god while Christians believe that he is god.
You should know that if you have even a cursory understanding of Judeo-Christian religious belief.
Isn't the "Christ" just another name for the "Messiah" prophesied in the Old Testament? In other words, it all ties back to the god of the Old Testament... whom you claim is not the god of the New Testament.

And we get back to the question; if not "Yahweh", then who?

Quote:
The Tetragrammton has actual numerical meaning used in number squares and divine geometric computations.
Jesus's name has no meaning outside of religious dogma.
I frankly have no clue what you're trying to say with this.
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Old 2011-04-23, 13:45   Link #15
monster
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
Do we *want* to worship something that has a "documented history" of pathological behavior and doesn't look a whole lot different than the "false gods" that same writings describe?
Whether or not you want to worship that particular being is a matter that's of no relevance to this thread.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
I'm sceptical about the usefulness of this thread, given the typical audience we have here in AnimeSuki.
Well, I didn't think it was going to change the world or anything like that.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChainLegacy View Post
I can't claim to understand a being as complex as god would have to be as described in the Bible - omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. And that's just the point. Such a being would be so far beyond humanity's very comprehension, that ascribing to it human characteristics is pointless in the first place. The thing is, a being that knows everything, is everything, and controls everything has no need for 'motivations.' Motivations are a heterotrophic characteristic, you and I have them, my dog has them, and even almost alien creatures like squid have them. But their ultimate purpose is to maneuver the world, survive, and help facilitate some passage of genetic code to the next generations. In humans we are sentient and thus have more complex motivations - but the connection to that ultimate need to survive is still there.

God would have no such thing - everything god does/did/has done (time would be irrelevant to such a being) simply would be. I do not think there would be any 'personality' or even animalistic consciousness in the case of complete omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. In fact, I'm inclined to believe god in that sense is better understood simply as the universe and any other realms of existence. I don't even see the need to think of it as a 'being,' but rather, reality itself.
Does the fact that a being is beyond human comprehension necessarily mean that being has absolutely nothing that we could perceive? What I mean is that, perhaps we could never understand God fully, but surely God could interact with humans in a way that humans have some understanding.

About motivations, maybe that's not the right word (I simply used what synaesthetic used), perhaps "will" is more acceptable. Do you think it's impossible for an omnipotent and omniscient being (if it is a being) to have something like a will?

Of course, if God is simply reality and not a being, then none of it really matters. So for this thread, I'm assuming God is some kind of a being.
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Old 2011-04-23, 14:14   Link #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ascaloth View Post
I frankly have no clue what you're trying to say with this.
I think GundamFan0083 is trying to assert the view that orthodox Hebrew interpretation of its religion, including its divinity, is radically different from the far more "human" Christian religion despite a common heritage.

That said, YHWH is indeed Christianity's God as well, and is the same entity theologically as Islam's Allah (i.e. "God"). More contemporary religions, such as the Bahá'í Faith, draws on this tradition and continues to claim a certain universality for this fundamentally abstract entity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by monster
Whether or not you want to worship that particular being is a matter that's of no relevance to this thread.
Except, see, monster, people aren't questioning because they don't Believe. It's just that you started the thread with a very clear Judeo-Christian subtext, and then try to pose a metaphysical question. So they frown and back up and try to point out to you that this ethnocentrism dilutes the purity of the metaphysical question.

After all why must we adhere to the Christian interpretation before we ask the question of the motivations and/or human characteristics behind omnipotence?

However, if instead you wish to adhere to the Christian interpretation, then the debate will take a theological turn. In which case AnimeSuki would not be the best place to discuss; I really don't think many of us here has more than a passing familiarity with this once highly regarded field of knowledge. Not many people nowadays study the works of Augustine or Thomas Aquinas, much less the words of the Sufi mystics or the Manicheans' obscure but highly influential theological notions, etc., etc.
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Old 2011-04-23, 14:17   Link #17
GundamFan0083
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ascaloth View Post
Doing that, I get "-ianity". I don't get it.
No, you don't get it!

Quote:
Isn't the "Christ" just another name for the "Messiah" prophesied in the Old Testament? In other words, it all ties back to the god of the Old Testament... whom you claim is not the god of the New Testament.
No...no...and just no.
I gave you the short answer already.
If you really want to understand this you have to read this:
http://www.messiahtruth.com/response.html

Quote:
And we get back to the question; if not "Yahweh", then who?
They use the anglicized version of the Tetragrammaton to refer to "the father."
Thus the term Jehovah-Yashua.
However, they don't have the first clue what they're talking about.
The Tetragrammaton is only one of many names attributed to the Hebrew God of the Torah.
Adonai (lord), El shaddai, Elohim, Ayin Sof, El, Eloah, Elah, etc. are used in the Torah.
Here's an article that explains it well, it also explains how Jesus claimed to be god.
http://www.allaboutgod.com/names-of-god.htm

So you see Ascaloth, by claiming to be YHVH (the Tetragrammaton), Jesus was claiming to be God itself, and the Hebrews reject that entirely.

The Christians also added to their god Jesus the concept of trinity.
Thus Jesus is part of the so called "Holy Trinity" which doesn't appear anywhere in Torah at all.

Quote:
I frankly have no clue what you're trying to say with this.
I'm saying that the names of God as understood by Kabbalists is used in computing information via number squares and divine geometric shapes.
While, Jesus' name has no such numerical value (it's not useful in computing values for Kabbalistic numerology or geomancy).
The name YHVH is also used in meditative practices to enhance the computational power of the human mind.
Jesus' name isn't used for any of that, even when written as Yashua.
Do you understand now?
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Old 2011-04-23, 14:18   Link #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monster View Post
Well, I didn't think it was going to change the world or anything like that.
Of course not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by monster View Post
...Of course, if God is simply reality and not a being, then none of it really matters. So for this thread, I'm assuming God is some kind of a being.
Does it strictly have to be the Biblical God? I'm sure you're aware there are many kinds of religious beliefs, and the nature of "God" will differ according to the believer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ascaloth View Post
Isn't the "Christ" just another name for the "Messiah" prophesied in the Old Testament? In other words, it all ties back to the god of the Old Testament... whom you claim is not the god of the New Testament.

And we get back to the question; if not "Yahweh", then who?
It goes beyond mere semantics. Jesus, for the Jews, was merely another prophet — to them, he was never the foretold Messiah. He was never God. But to Christians and Catholics, he is the Son, one part of the Trinity that is God.

Everything differs from that point. This is fundamental. Without understanding this, you cannot understand how the religions differ, let alone criticise them.
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Old 2011-04-23, 14:32   Link #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irenicus View Post
I think GundamFan0083 is trying to assert the view that orthodox Hebrew interpretation of its religion, including its divinity, is radically different from the far more "human" Christian religion despite a common heritage.
Basically, yes.

Lewis Black explains what I'm trying to say best:

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Old 2011-04-23, 14:47   Link #20
Ascaloth
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Originally Posted by GundamFan0083 View Post
No...no...and just no.
I gave you the short answer already.
If you really want to understand this you have to read this:
http://www.messiahtruth.com/response.html
You do realize the "here, read this! (link)" approach is hardly an effective way of making a point, right?

Your own words, please. I have better things to do with my time then waste it going through theological word salad.

Quote:
So you see Ascaloth, by claiming to be YHVH (the Tetragrammaton), Jesus was claiming to be God itself, and the Hebrews reject that entirely.

The Christians also added to their god Jesus the concept of trinity.
Thus Jesus is part of the so called "Holy Trinity" which doesn't appear anywhere in Torah at all.
So what I'm taking away from this is, Christians consider Jesus their God, even though they call him "Son of God" as well? What?

Quote:
I'm saying that the names of God as understood by Kabbalists is used in computing information via number squares and divine geometric shapes.
While, Jesus' name has no such numerical value (it's not useful in computing values for Kabbalistic numerology or geomancy).
The name YHVH is also used in meditative practices to enhance the computational power of the human mind.
Jesus' name isn't used for any of that, even when written as Yashua.
Do you understand now?
What this means to me is, these "Kabbalists" cannot fit Jesus's name into the random number formulae they use as part of their meditation. Which, again, means nothing to me.

And in any case, the status of Jesus is irrelevant to my original question. Is the Old Testament's god also the New Testament's god, or not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
It goes beyond mere semantics. Jesus, for the Jews, was merely another prophet — to them, he was never the foretold Messiah. He was never God. But to Christians and Catholics, he is the Son, one part of the Trinity that is God.

Everything differs from that point. This is fundamental. Without understanding this, you cannot understand how the religions differ, let alone criticise them.
Whatever Jesus was had nothing to do with the main point of my question in the first place. I just saw that GundamFan0083 claimed that the god of the Torah was not the god of the New Testament, which contradicts what I do understand.

EDIT: Actually, I think I'm just going to sleep on this. Post your replies guys; I'll get back to this thread tomorrow morning.
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